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The Bridgestone Bursary Program in South Africa

The Bridgestone Bursary Program has provided crucial financial assistance and support to countless promising South African students over the years. Unfortunately, the bursary does not seem to be accepting applications for the 2024 academic year.

However, I wanted to provide an in-depth overview of this valuable program in hopes that it may reopen applications in the future. I will cover key details on fields covered, eligibility requirements, bursary value/coverage, the application process, and more.

For students still seeking funding opportunities, I have also highlighted some alternative bursaries and scholarships currently available in South Africa at the end.

bridgestone bursary

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Overview of the Bridgestone Bursary

Bridgestone South Africa established its bursary fund to empower passionate young minds through education. By removing financial barriers that often prevent academic dreams from coming to fruition, they aim to nurture South Africa’s next generation of leaders across various industries.

The bursary provides selected candidates with comprehensive funding that covers all major costs associated with tertiary studies, including:

  • Tuition fees
  • Prescribed textbooks
  • Accommodation
  • Monthly stipend for meals and other living expenses

For financially distressed students, this support can truly be life-changing. Not only are all their critical educational expenses covered, but the monthly allowance also helps meet daily needs as they work towards their future career goals.

The bursary targets students that display strong academic competency, leadership qualities, an eagerness to give back to their communities, and a drive to succeed against the odds. Passion and merit are valued highly during candidate evaluations.

Importantly, Bridgestone remains committed to advancing employment equity. Their bursary selection practices promote diversity and aim empower previously disadvantaged individuals.

Fields Covered by the Bursary

In the past, Bridgestone accepted bursary applications from students enrolled in a diverse range of tertiary study fields and qualifications.

These include:

  • Business/Commercial/Finance degrees – Such as BCom, BAdmin, Diploma in Business Management, etc.
  • Information Technology qualifications – Such as BSc Informatics, National Diploma in IT, etc.
  • Engineering diplomas/degrees – Including National Diplomas, BTech and BEng programs in various specializations – chemical, mechanical, industrial, civil, electrical, etc.
  • Linguistic and Arts qualifications
  • Safety Management diplomas
  • Property Management/Real Estate qualifications
  • Medical and Nursing diplomas/degrees – Such as MBChB, BCur, Dip in Pharmacy Assistance, etc.
  • Law degrees – Including LLB and postgraduate LLM programs
  • Other Technical/Vocational qualifications – Such as Boilermaking, Welding, Fitting and Turning, etc.

So in essence, they aimed to promote skills development across a vast spectrum – from healthcare professionals to accountants, engineers to artists, entrepreneurs to electricians.

This emphasis on diversity aligns with Bridgestone’s strong social ethos and nation-building ideals. Education across all fields creates more holistic and positive change.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for the Bridgestone bursary program, all candidates had to satisfy the following eligibility criteria:

1. South African citizenship

Applicants must hold a South African ID document and be classified as previously disadvantaged by the country’s BBBEE policy.

2. Residency in Port Elizabeth

Candidates must reside within Nelson Mandela Bay and the greater Port Elizabeth region. As Bridgestone’s South African headquarters are located in Port Elizabeth, the bursary aims to specifically empower youth from the surrounding local communities.

3. Completed Matric

Applicants must have successfully passed Grade 12/Matric at a South African high school.

4. Studying towards an approved tertiary qualification

Candidates must already be enrolled/accepted into one of the approved diplomas, degrees or certificates covered by Bridgestone. The bursary only provides funding to current students, not prospective applicants.

5. Above average academic performance

To help ensure funded students are likely to succeed, applicants need to demonstrate decent academic competency. As such, candidates require a minimum overall average of 60% from their previous year of tertiary study. First year students are assessed based on their Grade 12/Matric results instead.

Overview of Bursary Package

Bridgestone aims to provide comprehensive financial coverage so that bursary recipients can fully focus on their studies, rather than stress about fees or living costs.

Successful candidates are awarded funding packages that cater to all major academic expenses, including:

Full-tuition coverage

  • 100% of all class fees
  • Registration costs
  • Exam fees
  • Any other compulsory academic charges

Textbook allowance

  • Funds to purchase all prescribed textbooks

Accommodation provision

  • Free housing near their university/TVET college
  • Some opt to still stay with family

Monthly living allowance

  • R2,500 – R5,000 stipend
  • Covers meals, transport, supplies etc.
  • Stipend amount depends on program expenses

Therefore, recipients essentially have no urgent financial concerns while completing their qualification under the bursary program.

Bridgestone also helps set students up for workplace success through practical work experience. Bursars are required to complete vacation work at the company’s commercial business units. These placements provide hands-on learning, professional mentors and potential job opportunities post-graduation.

Application and Selection Process

Previously, applications for the Bridgestone bursary scheme opened around April each year. Interested candidates could apply online by visiting the SA Bursaries website and completing the provided application form.

The selection process afterwards involved the following steps:

1. Review of applications

Bridgestone’s bursary committee thoroughly assessed all completed applications received before the stipulated deadline. They screened submissions to verify eligibility criteria were met.

2. Shortlisting candidates

Based on applicants’ financial need levels, academic capability, field/level of study, motivation letters and supporting documents – the committee shortlisted promising candidates.

3. Interview Invites

The most qualified applicants were then invited to special selection interviews to further assess their suitability.

4. Panel Interviews

During the interviews, candidates elaborated on their application details directly to the bursary awards committee. Performance during interviews strongly informed final selection decisions.

5. Final awards

After panel deliberations, the committee announced their final bursary recipients for the application cycle. Successful candidates had to sign bursary contracts to secure their awards.

Conclusion

In summary, the Bridgestone bursary program has provided a valuable avenue of financial support for Port Elizabeth youth over the years. For qualifying students facing genuine financial constraints, it eliminates barriers to accessing higher education and skills training opportunities.

Hopefully the company reopens applications for the 2025 academic year, so passionate young minds can continue benefiting from this empowering funding scheme.

I will make sure to provide any updates if the bursary becomes available to apply for again in future.

Alternative Bursary Opportunities

If you were hoping to apply for the Bridgestone bursary, do not lose hope! Here are a few other great bursary programs in South Africa currently accepting applications:

1. Hexagon Trust Bursary

The Hexagon Trust offers full bursaries to previously disadvantaged South African students pursuing tertiary studies in fields like Engineering, Science, and Technology. Bursaries include tuition, accommodation, books, and living allowances.

Eligibility: South African citizen, completed Matric, currently studying/accepted into STEM degree | Deadline: 31 October 2023

How to apply: Hexagon Trust online application platform

2. Sasol Bursaries

Sasol’s prestigious bursary scheme funds high-achieving students tackling scarcity subjects like Engineering, GeoSciences, Technologists, Accounting, and more. Recipients get allowances, tuition coverage, vacation work, and possible employment.

Eligibility: South African citizens, strong Matric grades, studying select degree programs | Deadline: 30 June 2023

How to apply: Sasol Bursaries online portal

3. SASCHOOLSNEARME.CO.ZA Online Portal

The ZABursaries portal conveniently lists various bursary schemes offered by South African companies, trusts, government departments and more. Browse funding opportunities by field of study.

Eligibility: Varies per bursary | Deadlines: Vary per bursary

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